Restorative Justice (RJ) offers a set of principles and values that inform a plethora of practices for a variety of applications.
At the centre of restorative practices is an invitation to those that cause harm, those affected by harm and the community to co-create a meaningful solution and/or path forward. In contrast to the traditional and long standing justice system in Canada which seeks to establish a punishment for each act of wrongdoing assuming that will contribute to victim and societal satisfaction, RJ focuses on unmet needs, cultivating accountability and building understanding to restore relationships. RJ is not one specific model, instead it is a set of principles that can be flexibly applied to a variety of situations of conflict, crime and harm.
Principles of Restorative Justice:
• Voluntary: all parties are invited and free to engage in the process
• Respect: all parties in a restorative process are respected equally
• Acknowledged Harm: there is a recognition of the harm caused and the impact of harm is not assumed but defined by those that are harmed
• Accountability: responsibility for the harm is acknowledged and explored
• Inclusiveness: a restorative process makes room for all parties and their needs
• Shared Responsibility: people involved in a process determine what is needed for understanding, healing and moving forward
• Balanced: the needs of those harmed and the community are balanced with the personal capacity of those that cause harm
• Non-Adversarial: decisions are made through consensus, demanding slowness